Gooch Lifts Aggies Into Contention At National Invitational

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TUCSON, AZ -- Making his first start in an NCAA Division I tournament, Texas A&M senior Dillon Gooch fired back-to-back 70s on Monday to lead the 12th-ranked Aggies into third place after the opening day of the National Invitational Tournament at The Omni Tucson National Golf Course. The final round is Tuesday.

Gooch is tied for fourth in the individual standings at four-under-par (70-70=140), four strokes behind leader Ryan Henry of Tulsa (68-68=136).

No. 24-ranked Tulsa leads the team race with a 12-under total of 564, followed by No. 21 Arizona State (566), A&M (280-289=569), TCU (571), Arizona (572), No. 10 UCLA (572), No. 6 UNLV (574), New Mexico (576), Northwestern (581), Duk,e (583), Texas tech (586), Arizona "B" (586), No. 23 Texas (587), Pepperdine (588) and Kent State (592).

A&M sophomore Bronson Burgoon is in ninth place with a 67-74=141 total, just five shots off the pace. Junior Bobby Gates is tied for 20th (73-71=144), junior Trey Todd is tied for 34th (72-74=146) and freshman Austin Schauer is tied for 49th (71-77=148).

Gooch was a third-team NCAA Division III All-American at Mary Hardin Baylor in 2005 before transferring to A&M. He appeared in just one tournament as a junior, playing as an individual in the 2006 Aggie Invitational and finishing 66th.

"It was a great effort by the guys, especially in morning round," A&M Coach J.T. Higgins said. "Bronson's 67 was phenomenal; he didn't miss a shot. I was really pleased with Dillon Gooch for shooting a pair of 70s in his first start in a Division I tournament. Everyone battled hard all day and put up some good scores. We're in great position and I like the way we're playing. I think tomorrow could be a very good day for us."